HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
As an Airman, the mission comes first. It is critical that they work together to achieve success and each team member is at their best. Having time away from work to exercise social fitness is an important part of maintaining peak readiness, and with everyone having to stay physically distanced, some ways to be social have been altered.
“I definitely prefer face-to-face interaction,” said Master Sgt. Nicholas Urban, 49th Force Support Squadron first sergeant. “With COVID-19 everyone has had to be a little more creative with how they interact. I have found other ways to connect to people virtually like through web video calls, but I still try to go and talk to people as often and safely as I can.”
As a first sergeant, Urban’s main priority is taking care of Airmen. He said it is crucial for Airmen to be social during these uncertain times, and urges Holloman members to use the family values of military life to build those connections.
“As Airmen we all have something in common,” said Urban. “Even though we are all from different regions or backgrounds, we all took the oath and are members of professional arms. We become family in a way, especially in the workplace. But I think it's also important to find friends from different units or outside of work, so you can separate work and home life.”
While this separation is important, some relationships with other Airmen can also help push you to be more successful.
“Building connections with other Airmen can create healthy competition,” said Urban. “This competition can really help push you and your peers to that next level. We don’t get anywhere by ourselves, there’s always a support system or someone helping you reach success.”
Some Airmen have chosen to socialize virtually through video games or video chats, while others prefer to take the proper precautions to be able to interact face-to-face. Whatever choice to connect, interaction is vital. With the COVID-19 pandemic creating more obstacles, it is imperative that Airmen are able to identify and reach out to their wingmen who may be struggling.
“I am usually a pretty social person,” said Senior Airman Christopher Cooper, 8th Fighter Squadron aviation resource management journeyman. “When I notice someone a little bit more quiet or reclusive, I'll try to get them to engage. I’ll ask certain questions just to see if I can get them to open up, just so they can know that I'm a person who they can always communicate with.”
With COVID-19 forcing everyone to stay a safe distance from others and take preventative measures, many types of interactions are achieved differently, but sustaining social fitness is essential.
“It’s just something all humans need,” said Urban. “Even if you say you’re an introvert or more reserved, you still need that connection, you still get something just by seeing another person smile, or just being around other people.”